Book Review: The Key to Erebus (Les Corbeaux: The French Vampire Legend Book 1) by Emma V. Leech & Roisin O’Connor
This book was pretty much the quintessential “centuries old vampire falls in love with teenage girl *SPOILER ALERT* who turns out to be his reincarnated love” *END SPOILER ALERT* romance, but the thing about tropes is that they’re not inherently bad, it just depends how they’re written, and I thought this book just so happened to use the trope pretty well in combination with good characters and an interesting story, and the trope was really just used as a springboard into the series as the rest of the books so far have expanded into more unique and mature situations.
I felt somewhat torn about the book though. I enjoyed it, but I also had some issues.
First of all, there was Jehenne. She was by no means perfect, afterall she was still a teenager which means she was still making mistakes and growing and full of strong opinions and emotions, but that was what I liked about her. She felt very realistic and relatable at times. She occasionally made bad decisions, but she also made good decisions other times. She wasn’t always 100% confident in herself, but she wasn’t drowning in low self-esteem either. She made snap judgments sometimes, but she realized her mistakes later and learned from them. She also slapped a big, scary vampire when he called her a slut, which was either very stupid or very awesome depending on how you look at it. And I especially loved that she was kickass with magical powers and a reasonable ability to fight—two things she worked hard on and practiced every day—but also emotional. It seems like so many authors make their female characters emotionless and cold in an effort to make them seem “strong,” but, to me, emotion IS strength, or at least part of it, not to mention it’s just human.
However, I kind of liked her less as the story went on. I hate myself a little bit for what I’m about to say, especially since the first time I read this book I felt like some other reviewers who said the very same thing were just judging Jehenne too harshly, but she could sometimes be too emotional. That whole part when she was upset with Corvus was especially frustrating because her reaction to that bit of news that she got was overdramatic, and it didn’t make sense that she wouldn’t even let him explain his side of things when it was painfully clear that Ines’s version of the story was warped. Jehenne just threw every good thing she knew about Corvus and all the kindness he had showed her out the window the second Ines told her the story. And then the way she continued to push him away later didn’t make sense either. I 100% understood her concerns about him only loving her because she looked like his past love, but how was he supposed to prove that he loved her for her if she refused to ever spend time with him? And that scene when she got unfairly jealous and just kept slapping Corvus until she was exhausted was completely over the top. It also frustrated me that Jehenne just couldn’t seem to understand that vampire society works differently than human society—she seemed horrified or offended by every new thing she learned. And a few of her decisions weren’t quite TSTL but were cutting it close. To be fair about Jehenne’s character though, she always felt consistent, and her emotionalness was just a legitimate part of her.
Then there was Corvus. I liked him, but he was kind of the typical tortured hero/scary-but-good vampire love interest. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though; it just depends what you like. And he did have a bit of a temper, so that could be considered a flaw. Plus he was nearly as emotional and dramatic as Jehenne at times, just with less tears.
As for their relationship, there was no instalove, Jehenne and Corvus took some time to get to know each other before actually deeming it love, but I still felt like the start of the relationship was a bit rushed.
There were also some minor grammar mistakes, mostly punctuation errors and too many exclamation points, so not anything terrible, but it would’ve come across a lot more polished with a good proofreader.
Ok it seems like all I’ve talked about in this review are negative things, but I swear I did like this book. Even though I had issues with certain things Jehenne did, I still loved some things about her. And even though Corvus was kind of typical, I liked him too. And I happen to like drama and angst in romance, so I at least liked the layer of emotion they provided even if I didn’t always understand why the characters were acting how they were acting. Plus the story itself was enjoyable, what with the vampires and witches and shifters and magic and murders and romance. I’ve also already read the second and third books and can tell you that I liked those even more, and they fixed many of the problems I had with this book. So it’s still a book I enjoyed and recommend if it sounds like your kinda thing!
The truth can kill you.
Taken away as a small child, from a life where vampires, the Fae, and other mythical creatures are real and treacherous, the beautiful young witch, Jéhenne Corbeaux is totally unprepared when she returns to rural France to live with her eccentric Grandmother.
Thrown headlong into a world she knows nothing about she seeks to learn the truth about herself, uncovering secrets more shocking than anything she could ever have imagined and finding that she is by no means powerless to protect the ones she loves.
Despite her Gran’s dire warnings, she is inexorably drawn to the dark and terrifying figure of Corvus, an ancient vampire and master of the vast Albinus family.
Jéhenne is about to find her answers and discover that, not only is Corvus far more dangerous than she could ever imagine, but that he holds much more than the key to her heart …
Book Author: Emma V Leech, Roisin O'Connor
Publisher: Self Published
Series: Les Corbeaux: The French Vampire Legend
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
My Book Rating: 3.5
Series/Standalone: Part of a Series
Setting Location: France